Vegan Pasta Salad (Gluten Free)

OK guys, this gluten free, vegan pasta salad is bananas. I don’t usually claim my recipes to be the best, but this one truly is so, so good. It’s a picnic in your mouth! And picnics are my favorite. The BEST Gluten-Free and Vegan Pasta Salad Recipe - This is the perfect summer side dish for picnics and potlucks. It's easy to make and irresistible.

This recipe is based on one that my friend Kelsey makes and everybody always gushes over. Hers includes dried cranberries, candied nuts and cooked chicken, so when I make it and leave out the chicken I like to add additional ingredients to make it a little more hearty. I use brown rice and quinoa fusilli pasta, dried cherries, raw walnuts, chopped celery and spinach to bulk it up and add additional nutrients. I also make it a poppyseed dressing for fun! Top it all of with fresh chopped green onions and it’s just irresistible.

If you’re really short on time and would rather buy a prepared dressing, Brianna’s makes a tasty gluten free and dairy free poppyseed dressing option.

How to Make Vegan Pasta Salad

The BEST Vegan Pasta Salad
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
This pasta salad is so easy to put together and you even make the dressing by hand. If you'd like to save even more time you can purchase your own poppyseed dressing, but I love that this is made fresh and I know exactly what's in it.
Recipe type: Side Dishes
Cuisine: Gluten Free | Dairy Free | Vegan | Egg Free | Vegetarian
Serves: 4-6
  • For Salad:
  • ½ lb. fusilli or rotini pasta (gluten free if necessary), cooked in salted water till al dente
  • ½ c. raw walnuts, chopped
  • ¼ c. dried cherries, chopped
  • ¼-1/2 c. celery, finely chopped
  • A few handfuls spinach, roughly chopped, if desired
  • For Dressing:
  • 1 cup vegan mayo**
  • 2 T. coconut sugar (or honey if you're not vegan)
  • 1 T. rice vinegar
  • 1 T. banana pepper brine (or a 2nd T. rice vinegar)
  • 1 T. water
  • 1 tsp. poppy seeds
  • ¾ tsp. kosher salt
  • ¼ tsp. celery salt
  • ¼ tsp. onion powder
  • ¼ tsp. garlic powder
  • fresh ground black pepper, to taste
  • Chopped green onions, to taste
  1. Cool your cooked pasta by dousing it in cold water. It should be room temperature or cooler when you toss it with the dressing.
  2. In a medium bowl, combine all dressing ingredients in order listed above and whisk to combine.
  3. Add cooled pasta to the bowl with the dressing and toss to coat. Reserve a little of the dressing if you plan to refrigerate and eat later.
  4. Before serving, add remaining dressing (if you reserved some before). Add chopped walnuts, cherries and celery and stir to combine.
  5. Serve over chopped spinach, if desired. Top with chopped green onions.
*I use Trader Joe's brown rice and quinoa fusilli and it works great.
**I use Hampton Creek Just Mayo for everything. It's a fantastic product and it's the same price or cheaper than other non-vegan mayo brands.

The BEST Gluten-Free and Vegan Pasta Salad Recipe - This is the perfect summer side dish for picnics and potlucks. It's easy to make and irresistible.

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